Effective Questioning in Negotiation

by Marc Lockley - Date: 2007-01-04 - Word Count: 336 Share This!

Effective questioning is a powerful and often underused skill in negotiation. Asking questions has many benefits.

1. It gives you a better chance of answering the brief effectively.

2. It shows the client you care about their business.

3. The information you acquire and the way in which you interpret the information can really help you establish how interested the client is in buying from you.

4.It helps to establish rapport.

It is also a natural progression to listening. If you have truly listened and not re-loaded there may be a silence for a while. Initially this may seem like an eternity but you will get used to that and will become quicker to respond.

With all the information on board you can now make good sound judgements based on what was said and not said.

There are two types of questions that are regularly used in negotiation - open and closed. When you are in fact-finding stage you use many more open questions. They are ones that require a lengthy answer and are difficult for your client to just to say yes or no.

Open questions are inquisitive, showing interest in them and what they want. They use opening words such as what, who, why, how, where and when. Closed questions tend to open with was, were, are, could, did and is. It is amazing how one or a few words can change a question from open to closed.

For example:

Closed Open Can I help? How can I help?

Also never assume that you know something. For example you may assume that they are not happy with price because they have not really wanted to commit to anything. Unless you ask questions you cannot know. You may want to ask a specific closed question to pin them down.

i.e. Is there anything I can do to help you decide to use us?

So much is down to interpretation and as we all channel information in and out in different ways you need to clarify things.

Remember the adage - never assume it makes an ASS out of U and ME.

Related Tags: coaching, selling, sales, negotiation, results, questions, open, questioning, closed

Marc Lockley is a personal coach with twenty years successful experience in National Press Media Sales, 10 of which as a leader. He is also a happy husband and father and knows the importance of balancing a pressurised workload with family and social life. Now he is a fully qualified coach based in the UK. For more details log on to his website http://www.lockleyassociates.co.uk

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